Scam alert for people looking to donate to victims of Japan tragedy

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - The earthquake and Tsunami in Japan have left hundreds of thousands of people crying for help. Fortunately, the U.S. is stepping up in a big way. Food and water have been dropped off in the nation.

The work is made possible because of donations from hard-working Americans, including many right here in the Tri-State.

"It seems that sometimes when things go wrong there are people who are willing to take advantage of that situation," said Paula McIntosh, community presence officer with the Cincinnati Region of the American Red Cross.

McIntosh said so far, locals have donated more than $50,000. Sadly, someone is now trying to take advantage of that kindness. A crook is calling people and telling them that they filled out a pledge form to donate, and that they need more information from them.

"They're asking them to fulfill their pledge of $150 even though these people have not made pledges of $150," said McIntosh.

McIntosh told FOX19 a woman named Linda called their office Monday night and left a message about the incident. She said she received two calls from the scam artists, but didn't remember pledging money.

"Typically, the Red Cross does not call people to ask for donations when disaster strikes," said McIntosh.

The Red Cross is working with Police to figure out who is behind this scam.

If you are called by individuals claiming to be from the American Red Cross asking for donations to provide help for the Tsunami relief, please take their names and phone numbers and notify your local law enforcement agency.

Also, check out the caller ID, write down the number and give that to your local police.

There are several legitimate ways to donate to the American Red Cross.

Call 1-800-REDCROSS. To make a $10 donation, text "REDCROSS" to 90999 or you can donate online at Ninety-one cents of every dollar donated to the American Red Cross will go to support disaster relief efforts.

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